Historically, Brandeis has not been known for its school spirit. Recently, the Brandeis Athletics Department has taken great strides toward encouraging and facilitating school spirit within the student body. This board commends the department for its efforts in bringing in new marketing techniques to incentivize attendance to sporting events. However, there are still underlying issues that prevent Brandeis school spirit from reaching its full potential.

At the beginning of the 2017-18 academic year, the Brandeis Athletics Department hired Andrew Vatistas as the assistant athletic director for Marketing, Promotions and Community Relations to oversee the implementation of new marketing campaigns for Brandeis Athletics. With the introduction of the “We the Jury” Student Rewards Program, students have new incentives to go to sporting events and demonstrate their school spirit. 

Other efforts of the Brandeis Athletics Department include giving free tickets to games for all Brandeis students, providing free food at games and gifting apparel to the first 50 students who arrive at a game. 

While acknowledging these efforts to increase student engagement and attendance at sporting events, this board urges the Athletics Department to continue to fostering an environment that attracts all of the student body and not just athletes. 

As a Division III University, athletics are not the main priority for many students at Brandeis. That being said, there is an overall lack of school spirit, since sports are not a large part of the Brandeis culture. It is difficult to foster spirit when students do not choose to come to Brandeis for the sports teams. Additionally, the athletics community can often feel isolated from the rest of Brandeis. 

This board advises the University to make more of an effort in incorporating athletes as a bigger part of the Brandeis culture and to avoid treating them like a niche community. Orientation coordinators and the Athletics Department should work together to accommodate scheduling conflicts due to preseason training so that everyone can participate and athletes can meet other students outside of their respective sports teams. If all students are able to interact with one another during their first weeks at Brandeis, there will be a better sense of community. Moreover, it’s more likely that students will attend sporting events that their friends are participating in. 

School pride can also be shown by Brandeis apparel, and continuing to offer free merchandise at games and through the rewards system is a step in the right direction. However, the University must also keep in mind that on top of the many other expenses students have to take care of, Brandeis apparel is not a main priority. On the bookstore website, for example, sweatshirts can cost as much as $65 each, and T-shirts can range as high as $34. If apparel is discounted, students would be more inclined to make purchases to show off their school spirit. 

Overall, this board commends the Brandeis Athletics Department on its efforts to promote campus unity and school pride through sporting events. In time, Brandeis has the potential to change its reputation and become a more spirited university.